Any lasting relationship isn’t reliant on looks alone. Sure, it starts with lust. But we get older, slower. We grow love handles and extra chins. But we stay together because, ultimately, the connection is based on something deeper than the superficial.
It’s a dramatic conceit to apply to a smartphone, but an apt one — when Motorola rebooted its iconic Razr brand last November with the debut of the remarkably svelte Droid Razr, we fell in love with its looks. Like the iconic, massively popular Razr V3 flip-phone released just seven years ago, the Droid Razr was sexy and slim.
But then Motorola pulled back the curtain on its next Razr iteration, the Droid Razr Maxx. It looks like its former self, but it’s been retooled to include a massive battery — the extra two-odd millimeters in thickness that were scooped away from the first Droid Razr’s backside have been filled in, and the slim profile of last year’s design has been obliterated. Otherwise, it looks like the same phone, but now it wears plus-size jeans. It’s heftier too. At 145 grams, it’s 20 grams heavier than the Razr.
The extra junk in the trunk comes with a payoff — an upgraded 3,300 mAh battery cell, one which Motorola promises will deliver up to 21 hours of talk time and over 350 hours on standby.
With the Razr Maxx’s supercharged battery, Moto goes a long way toward solving what is arguably the biggest issue in mobile devices today: longevity. Even the iPhone — the darling device of the mobile world — took serious heat for its lack of stamina after receiving the latest iOS software update.
No matter how sleek or functional a phone is, it ain’t nothing without enough juice to make it last, and the Razr Maxx’s purported battery life is unprecedented among today’s smart devices.
The verdict? The Razr Maxx makes good on Motorola’s claims. The phone stood up to 12 hours of continuous YouTube video playback — more grueling than voice calls — in my testing before running out of steam. And on a full charge under regular-use conditions (the occasional call or three, light web browsing, playing around with an app here and there), I literally went for three whole days without having to plug it in.
This longevity is only compounded by Moto’s Smart Actions management system, the company’s ingenious software-based approach for tracking and adjusting feature usage and energy consumption. It switches certain functions on and off automatically when the phone’s sensors detect a specific set of user-defined conditions. For example, when your battery dips below a certain point, say 20 percent, you can instruct the phone to automatically dim the screen and turn off the 4G and GPS radios. Also, the phone will use known Wi-Fi networks to determine your location. It knows when you’ve left your pad and you’re walking around (switch on 4G), or when you’ve arrived at the office (turn off 4G, silence your “Hey Ya” ringtone). Pretty nifty stuff.
If you’re superficial enough to care only about what’s on the outside, you may as well get the Droid Razr. Both phones are nearly identical in terms of specs and materials: 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with an HD-capable front-facing camera, a microSD slot, and a 4.3-inch super AMOLED screen are all standard on both devices. They both run Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread, and both are upgradeable to Ice Cream Sandwich. It’s just that with its beefier battery, the Droid Razr Maxx is chunkier and more costly — the Maxx hits stores at $300, and the price of the previous Razr just dropped to $200.
I like what Motorola is doing with its hardware across all of its latest phones, Razr or otherwise. It’s part of a larger emphasis on industrial design in the mobile world, as manufacturers like Nokia and Motorola have started paying closer attention to materials, flourishes and details once otherwise overlooked.
Moto’s latest phones are built atop an aluminum chassis, strong enough to withstand numerous waist-high drops. One of the defining features of the Razr line is the Kevlar mesh backing. This Razr Maxx feels smooth and exotic in the hand. It’s almost like touching the cool surface of a piece of glazed pottery. And like scores of other smartphones, the screen is kept safe with a Gorilla Glass facade.
But as nice as the Maxx’s outsides are, it’s really not about looks. It’s what’s inside that counts. And that, my friends, is what a good relationship is all about.